love

Not my words

Well, I don’t know about you… but I am sure tired of hearing people talk about Chick-Fil-A.

I feel like Satan’s sitting back, licking his fingers, and saying ” My, my. That was delicious.”

I’d like to share some scripture. Take from it whatever the Holy Spirit provides.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.  – Matthew 27:27-31

The crowd joined in attacking in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:22-25

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy towards all people. For we ourseves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, NOT because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, but the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-7

Walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. – Colossians 4:5-6

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. -Philippians 2:1-4

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. -Galatians 5:13-15

Is the law them contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. -Galatians 3:21-22

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifest in our bodies. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel,that I may share with them in its blessings. – 1 Corinthians 9:15-23

Hmm. I wonder where the scripture is instructing us, as Christ followers (who have supposedly died to ourselves, taking up our crosses daily), to eat fried food in support of someones freedom of religion and speech.

“Good intentions” don’t always parallel biblical truths, and when we act out on those good intentions without really contemplating the possible end result… well, more devastation occurs.

Did we, as a whole body of believers, advance the gospel last week?

Soul Drunk

It’s astounding, once I am sober- minded, to think about the thoughts I had prior that I would use to justify the propitiation of sin.

And by sober-minded, I mean having repented of deep, dark sins, leaving me clear- headed. Like a blindfold taken off of my eyes.

Seriously though, let’s really think about this. When we are completely consumed with the chase of earthly joys, we are drunk in sin, running aimlessly about, never really catching what we want. We stumble around without any clear vision or realization of how much we are hurting ourselves, and it is only until we wake up the next morning, with a massive headache, that we realize the bruises on our arms and the cuts on our feet.

I haven’t been doing very well with the coffee. I wrote a few weeks ago about giving up coffee because it had become an idol, but one does not simply kick over a golden calf, destroying it with one pathetic push (especially if it is not truly repented of). Remember how much work it took to build it?

Same with food.

And with spending money.

And with wanting a fairy-tale marriage.

I’ve been really sick the past few days. I actually cannot think of another time in my life when a sore throat was this painful. My body aches, and my face is draining slowly. All of this led me to sit down with a cup of very hot tea this morning while Abram was taking a nap, and dive into God’s arms. Putting the pain of my flesh aside, it was incredibly restful. I heard deep, deep down within my soul the holy spirit asking me why I keep chasing these things. We simply started conversing. I was reminded of why I permanently had the word “Beloved” tattooed on my wrist, the reason there is a tree with vines on my shoulder, and a sparrow that rests on the skin below my ear.

Oh yea. I forgot about those.

I then felt lead into a much needed time of repentance, where I desperately yet fearlessly let these idols of coffee, food, money and marriage go. With each sin repented of, I followed it with the request that God would break the chains and set me free. Very deep, relieving breaths followed.

I tell ya, there’s nothing different from those moments this morning to the moments I sit in this afternoon. My throat is still in excruciating pain, and my bones still ache. But I feel free-er, stronger. Ready to fill this clean-out body and soul of mine with something better, more joy-everlasting.

I even had a plate of broccoli for lunch…. because I wanted to.

But let me just say this, and please pay attention: We, as humans, are by no means one time fixes. I am repented of and free from those idols and sins in this moment right now, but the second I turn my gaze away from Christ and onto something else, I gladly open my door to sin that does not belong in me. And it is so easy to shift our gaze, when we are not constantly and deliberately seeking after and spending time with Him, asking Him to pursue us even more.

Is this where you find yourself today? Drunk in sin, getting no where and feeling miserable? I don’t care where you are right now or how important your “task” is at the moment. If you are like me today, then stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and go rest in God. Let him heal and free you.

I confidently say that nothing else could possibly be more important.

Venti Iced Coffee and braided shoes

Wordy Wednesday: Bombs Away

Some days all that keeps me going is lots of talks with God and a Venti iced coffee with a shot on top.

Today is one of those days.

It’s not necessarily a bad day, but I am fully exhausted.

Let me preface the rest of this post by telling you that Daniel is going on a leader/pastor-in-training retreat Friday night, and I leave for Panama City next week to lead worship for a camp. So keep that in mind as I share. I’ll bring it back around, I promise.

Yesterday morning, Abe woke up with a fever of 101.6. That’s not terrible. Just a little fever, and no other symptoms. He spent most of the morning on my lap or playing close beside me. Now, yesterday I had planned on setting aside the majority of my time to hashing out the music for this camp. By the afternoon, however, Abe’s temp had rose to 102.5 and he was a blob. He didn’t want to leave my side or the couch. We laid down most of the day, until I took his temp again at four, and it was at 103.1. Medicine, cold baths and fans were not working, and the rising temperature was alarming. I took him to the doctor, and by the time we got there, it has rose even more to 103.6. I was starting to freak out a little bit inside,  but doing my best to be a big girl and keep it cool for my kid. They did all of the general checks, and there was nothing they could find. They then decided to do a urine check, but we couldn’t get Abe to pee, so they had to use a catheter. I probably don’t need to say how horrible that was for everyone. Nothing turned out to be wrong with his pee, so they sent us home. Praise the Lord, his temperature dropped steadily for the rest of the night. Needless to say, the day was not productive at all.

Weird, huh?

I was pretty anxious and upset last night, and Daniel and I decided to talk it out before we went to bed. A lot of stuff came up about life in general, and we talked a bit about this weird funk I’ve been in for about a month and a half now. I discovered, through a really painful conversation and many tears, that I’ve been putting all of my faith, joy and worth in my hubs. I grew up working really hard to get the approval, or even just a smile, from my dad. I knew that had carried on into my marriage, but I didn’t feel or see the reality of it until last night. For two years now, I’ve been working myself silly to get this other person to like me (even though he already does) and prove to him that I can be a perfect wife.

I have massively failed at my mission. Thank God for that.

I’m a “flight” person. When something gets too big or overwhelming, like failure, I check out. Well, after two years of feeling like a failure (completely brought on by myself) I decided to shut off weeks ago. I didn’t do this intentionally, it just happened. This has caused much tension between Daniel and I (particularly in the intimacy department….get over it, we’re all adults here!), and a great deal of distraction from living life.

I didn’t sleep very well last night. It took me forever to finally drift off, and by the time I really got into sleeping, Abe woke up with a fever again. We had to bring him into our bed and help him get back to sleep, which took quite a long time. We got maybe another hour. I spent many moments in the middle of the night praying for relief and rest. It didn’t come. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

Remember what I said early about that retreat and camp?

This morning, while I was taking a shower, two things hit me.

1) The devil absolutely hates me, and is going to go to great lengths to ruin my life (and the lives within my family), especially in the thick of trying to love others and lead. New things are happening. What better time than now for that bastard to drop some bombs, ay? I mean seriously? The day I plan to work hard on something important and time sensitive is the day my son gets a freak-fever with no explanation.

2) The theme at the youth camp I’m going to next week is “Fighting for Joy.” Hmmmm…. thought I had that down a few years ago when I was under Jesse Carbo (who is heading up this camp). Sounds like I need a refresher course. Now it becomes more than just helping out at a camp. Now it becomes living life honestly with a bunch of teenagers I don’t know for a week.

The gospel is ALWAYS fresh, and we will ALWAYS need it. If you’re the kind that thinks the gospel is something you achieve when you say a prayer and then try to get other people to accept, then you are sadly mistaken. It is a never ending love story about of justification, redemption, renewal and untamed glory. It is a work inside of you that will not be complete until the day your spirit leaves this place.

Today I will press on. Today, you will press on.

In the meantime, pursue God, and pursue Him hard. Be aware of the attacks and distractions, and be thankful for the awareness of them. They usually mean that you are on the right track.